The decisions announced on Sunday are effective immediately.
Spokesman Yasser Ali said in a news conference aired on state TV that Mursi had appointed a new defense minister, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
He replaces Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who headed the military council that ruled Egypt for 17 months after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in a popular uprising in February 2011.
Tantawi was defense minister for nearly two decades under Mubarak but was much despised in Egypt.
The military council’s second in command, Chief of Staff Sami Annan, was also ordered to retire.
A general told Reuters that the decisions had been made in consultation with Tantawi.
“The decision was based on consultation with the field marshal and the rest of the military council,” General Mohamed el-Assar told Reuters.
Mursi also scrapped an interim constitutional declaration issued before he was sworn in that ruled the president could not rule on matters related to the military – including appointing its leaders.
In sweeping changes, he also ordered the retirement of the commanders of the navy, air defense and air force.
The retired navy commander, Lt. Gen. Mohan Mameesh, was named as chairman of the Suez Canal, the strategic waterway linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean and a major source of revenues for the country.
The move will be seen as a major moment in the battle for power between the Muslim Brotherhood from which Mursi came and the army, which remains among the most well-organized bodies in the country.
DEBKAfile considered Mursi’s move as an anti-army coup in Cairo. Tanks move up to Israel border
|President Morsi with army chief Field Marshal Tantawi in Sinai|
Having gained control of the Egyptian parliament, government and presidency, the Muslim Brotherhood has made itself the unchallenged ruler of Egypt. Demoting the heads of the military leaves the MB in control of the biggest army in the Arab world.
Two months after assuming the presidency, the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Mohamed Morsi swept away the powerful pro-American Supreme Military Council heads ruling Egypt since Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow.
The three generals also sacked were Air Force chief Rezza Abd al-Megid, Navy commander Mahab Muhamed Mamish and Air Defense chief Abd Al-Aziz Muhamed Seif.
President Morsi also annulled the law amendments endowing the military with broad powers.
debkafile was the only publication to report that the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi were exploiting the terrorist attack in Sinai to rid Cairo of the pro-Western military control of the Egyptian government.
debkafile was the only publication to report that the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi were exploiting the terrorist attack in Sinai to rid Cairo of the pro-Western military control of the Egyptian government. A faster worker, Morsi has achieved this in exactly seven days.
Morsi orders Tantawi’s retirement
The decisions announced Sunday are effective immediately. Spokesman Yasser Ali said in a news conference aired on state TV that Morsi appointed a new defense minister, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
|Morsi with Tantawi (Photo: EPA)|
He replaces Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who headed the military council that ruled Egypt for 17 months after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011. Tantawi was defense minister for nearly two decades under Mubarak.
The surprise moves comes less than a week after Morsi appointed a new national intelligence chief and dismissed the governor of the increasingly lawless north Sinai region after gunmen killed 16 border guards there.
The intelligence chief that Morsi fired, Murad Muwafi, was quoted in Wednesday’s newspapers as saying his agency was aware of the Israeli warning regarding the border attack but did not think that Muslims would attack Muslims while they were breaking their fast during Ramadan.